Self-Empowerment: Port Elizabeth (1866)
Posted by tahirfarrath on February 12, 2010
(History of Muslims in South Africa)
1866 – The Strand Street Masjid
The second Mosque built in P.E. was erected as consequence of a dispute between the two brothers, namely Abo Rafie and Abo Salie. The dispute eminated from the Grace Street Masjid, but the subsequent split in the Jamaa’ah that resulted in the construction of the Strand Street Mosque is unknown. (the Shaafi – Hanafi power struggle might be a possibility.) Moreover, there is conflicting evidence of the exact location of this Mosque. One source indicated that it was built between two building in a lane off Strand Street, while another state that it (was sandwiched between the two buildings and) faced Strand Street. It was previously a house (occupied by Abo Salie and his family) situated on a large piece of land and the front portion of the house was converted to include the Minaret. Abo Salie had three sons from his wife Attia, namely: Gasnoella, Abdul Wahab and Nieftagoedien. An article in the E.P. Herald dated 5 October 1852 read: “Abo Salie Nabie and his wife Rarteenjan donate their premises in Strand street, measuring 18’ wide X 37’ long (with a) 22’ front to other Muslims for a place of worship and residence for the Emaam”.
According to Lot A of Erf No. 2 granted to Thomas Winham on 1st October 1821 was transferred to Abo Salie on the 25th of November 1853, which was then transferred to abdol Wahab Salie on 23 February 1876. On the 25th of May/September 1899 it was transferred in trust to the Muslim Community. The architects were Messrs Molesworth & Pfeil, and Abo Salie and his two sons completed the Masjid on the 1st of June 1866. Over the main entrance to the Mosque was written “Auwal Masjied Wa Tiemoel Gajoe Wal Oemrata Lielah Hie”.
Although two separate persons, there is no certainty about the relationship between Abo Salie and Abo Salie Nabie. The life of this Mosque was shortlived and it had only one Emaam by the name of Abdul Wahab Salie. In 1859, both Abo Salie and his wife Attia died while on pilgramage in Mecca and Medina respectively. On the 15th of February 1860, the sale of the estate of Abo Salie and his wife Attia included the Union Hotel and several lots around the hotel and the Mosque. During December 1900, the Mosque and the Malay Priest’s residence were put up for sale. It appears that the Pier Street Mosque came into being since the sale (Abdul Gakien Abrahams, 1989?).